Bashley 0 Fleet Town 0
For want of better description, this was well and truly a game of two halves. Bashley, buoyant from a successful preseason were shaken from any complacency by the fast, direct play of the visitor’s and spent a surprising amount of the half on the back foot.
A ding-dong first two minutes saw Hugh Dathan finishing a flowing Bashley move with an unconvincing header followed immediately by a fast break on the home goal that was only curtailed by the purple heart bravery of Bash Keeper Ollie Bull at the feet of the burly Blues number nine Aaron Redford. This pattern continued in bursts with Bull dominant in a china-shop of pressure with timely interceptions and bold catching; a task aided by the woeful finishing of the Fleet strikers.
Despite the balance of play being around the home goal, it was Bashley who came closest to scoring. Ollie Smith was on hand five yards out to snap back a spilled shot only for goal minder Luke Williams to reclaim it safely. Minutes later the keeper was left stranded by Dathan‘s cross-goal pass but young Smith’s well-timed timed run to the far post just failed to make contact. Both Whiteley and Dathan were on-target with shots from distance but without enough venom to bother Williams.
Fleet’s first half pressure was nullified by the speed of tackle of a Bashley defence marshalled by the tireless Brad Morris who deserved their modicum luck when a header from Redford met its end on the crossbar.
The second half was a mirror image of the first but this time it was Bashley who were the dominant side. Goal chances were many, but the net remained a no-go area. The football flowed with the speed and tenacity of Jack Smith causing problems and frontman Harry McGrath in bustling mood a goal seemed inevitable but instead of net, it was the outside extremities of the goal frame that took the flack!
Then, in the sixty-first minute the door of opportunity swung open. Jack Smith was fouled when running free on the left; Whiteley’s curling free kick to the far post caused both mayhem and a handball offence. Penalty! Brad Strickland’s hard shot from the spot grazed the top of the bar and the door of opportunity closed.
Brogen Sims, Billy Cooper and Jamie Webber came off the bench to try their luck and it was goal-poacher extraordinaire Sims, who had scored from the bench in three previous outings, who looked certain to add to his tally with a short range shot but for the flying body of Williams that curtailed his dreams and Bashley’s hope for three points.
(Photo: Brogen Sims in action)
Bashley: Bull, Smith J, Thompson, Strickland, Morris, Spears, Dathan, Gould, McGrath, Whiteley, Smith
Used Subs: Cooper, Sims, Webber